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Trump announces 20,000 jobs that were planned a year and a half before his election

Charter Communications pledged to add 20,000 new American jobs as early as June 2015.

Charter Communications CEO Thomas Rutledge with Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and Reed Cordish, Assistant to the President for Intragovernmental and Technology Initiatives, at the White House on Friday. CREDIT: AP Photo/Evan Vucci
Charter Communications CEO Thomas Rutledge with Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and Reed Cordish, Assistant to the President for Intragovernmental and Technology Initiatives, at the White House on Friday. CREDIT: AP Photo/Evan Vucci

After a meeting at the White House with Charter Communications CEO Thomas Rutledge, President Trump announced that the company told him it will hire 20,000 more people and invest $25 billion in the U.S.

“Today I am thrilled to announce that Charter Communications has just committed to investing $25 billion…here in the United States and has committed further to hiring 20,000 American workers over the next four years,” Trump bragged on Friday. He also noted that Charter committed to close all its offshore call centers.

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But Trump was bragging about something that was in the works long before he took office. Charter made this hiring goal public in the spring of 2015.

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Charter announced its plans to acquire Time Warner Cable in May of 2015 and then spent a year trying to get it approved by regulators. To sweeten the deal, as early as June 2015 the company pledged to hire 20,000 more Americans if it went through.

The FCC explicitly mentioned this promise when it approved the merger in May of 2016. “The Applicants commit to increase customer care through domestic investment and in-sourced jobs, and claim that New Charter would bring thousands of overseas Time Warner Cable jobs back to the United States,” the agency wrote. “They explain that many, if not most of the overseas jobs would be brought in-house, where the Applicants would provide significant training, benefits, and opportunities for advancement, which would add to the skill level and economic fabric of local communities.”

When asked if this was the same as the announcement made today, a Charter spokesperson told ThinkProgress, “We have spoken about our plans to hire 20k before but it wasn’t a commitment. Today we committed to a time frame of four years for those hires.”

The FCC document appears to dispute this. “Charter commits that New Charter would continue this in-sourcing strategy with respect to field technician positions within the Time Warner Cable and Bright House footprints,” it reads.

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Although the FCC concluded that Charter’s promise to create more jobs wasn’t specific enough to be counted as a verifiable benefit of the deal, it did note that job creation is a consideration factor for whether deals are greenlighted.

On Friday, Trump said that other American businesses have created jobs specifically after his election to the White House.

“You’re going to see thousands and thousands and thousands of jobs, and companies, and everything coming back into our country,” he promised. “They’re coming in even far faster than even I had projected.”

Yet nearly all of the deals he’s bragged about have had nothing to do with him or his election. The 45,000 jobs Exxon said it would add were in the works as far back as 2012. The 8,000 from Sprint and SoftBank are part of a deal announced before he won. Intel’s 3,000 jobs were first announced alongside President Obama. Ford’s CEO said the 700 new jobs had nothing to do with Trump, and Fiat-Chrysler said the same thing about its 2,000 new jobs. General Motors insisted its 1,950 jobs were planned long before the election. The increase in production that led to Lockheed Martin’s 1,800 jobs has been in the works for years.